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A Drawback to Urban Green Spaces -

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Global Opinion

January 21, 2010, 3:54 pm 43 Comments

A Drawback to Urban Green Spaces By SINDYA N. BHANOO While city dwellers are always clamoring for more green space, urban parks may not always be as “green” as they seem. A study on urban green space says that the irrigation, fertilizer, mowing and leaf blowing all add up, emitting more carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases than the spaces absorb. The study has been accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union. “Lawns weren’t initially invented to store greenhouse gases — they have a lot of other purposes such as recreation,” said Claudia Czimczik, a researcher at University of California, Irvine, and a co-author of the study. “But there is a lot of recent political discussions about lawns as carbon sinks, and if that is the case we need to consider the whole package.” Dr. Czimczik and her colleagues analyzed the grass in four parks in Irvine, which include both open lawns with picnic tables and athletic fields. They found that in open lawns, the use of fertilizers, which emit heat-trapping nitrous oxide, offsets 10 to 30 percent of the carbon dioxide captured and stored. And the fuel used in mowing and leaf-blowing releases more carbon dioxide than the lawns soak up. Athletic fields fare even worse because they require more maintenance. Dr. Czimczik cautioned that her study was a small one conducted only in Southern California, an area where water has to be transported from afar and lawns have to be maintained year-round because of the warm climate. Further research will have to be done, she said, to understand the dynamics of lawns nationwide. “California is an exception,” she said. “But it does make a case to understand that while there are a lot of positive things that come from green space, maybe we don’t need as much, or maybe it doesn’t have to be

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perfectly green.” Or maybe, she added, “we should use push mowers.” Homeowners interested in “greening” their own lawns can learn more from the Environmental Protection Agency’s GreenScapes program, which encourages people to consider land, water, air, and energy use in their lawn maintenance. The E.P.A. has also set standards requiring new lawn mowers and other machines with spark-ignition engines to produce 35 percent fewer emissions starting in 2011. Facebook Twitter Google+ E-mail Share Print cities, Climate Change, Carbon Dioxide, cities, Climate Change, greenhouse gases, nitrous oxide Related Posts From Dot Earth Can China Follow U.S. Shift from Coal to Gas?

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December 04 30 A Climate Scientist Proposes a ‘Fair Plan’ for Limiting Warming

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By 2050 or so, the human population is expected to reach nine billion, essentially adding two Chinas to the number of people alive today. Those billions will be seeking food, water and other resources on a planet where, scientists say, humans are already shaping climate and the web of life. In Dot Earth, which recently moved from the news side of The Times to the Opinion section, Andrew C. Revkin examines efforts to balance human affairs with the planet’s limits. Conceived in part with support from a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, Dot Earth tracks relevant developments from suburbia to Siberia. The blog is an interactive exploration of trends and ideas with readers and experts. Follow on Twitter | Facebook | Google Reader | Google+ | YouTube On the Dot Energy

New Options Needed

Access to cheap energy underpins modern societies. Finding enough to fuel industrialized economies and pull developing countries out of poverty without overheating the climate is a central challenge of the 21st century. Africa’s Energy Gap The Power of Green The Energy Challenge series How to Spark an Energy Quest Climate

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Enshrined in history as an untouchable frontier, the Arctic is being transformed by significant warming, a rising thirst for oil and gas, and international tussles over shipping routes and seabed resources. The Big Melt series Postcards from the Arctic The North Pole Was Here (book) and teaching tools The Arctic Rush

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Slow Drips, Hard Knocks

Human advancement can be aided by curbing everyday losses like the millions of avoidable deaths from indoor smoke and tainted water, and by increasing resilience in the face of predictable calamities like earthquakes and drought. Times Topics: Disasters Thirsty Giant, India and water The Future of Calamity Biology

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Earth’s veneer of millions of plant and animal species is a vital resource that will need careful tending as human populations and their demands for land, protein and fuels grow. Managing Planet Earth South America Seeks to Fill the World’s Table Tracking the Imperiled Bluefin A Movable Beast Slide Show

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Andrew C. Revkin began exploring the human impact on the environment nearly 30 years ago. An early stop was Papeete, Tahiti. This narrated slide show describes his extensive travels.

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Environmental Journalism Today ( Wired Science The Business of Green Managing Globalization Environment 360 (Yale) Scientific American Blog Climate Feedback The Green Room Science and Development Network Dateline Earth New Scientist Environment Blog Physics Today News Picks Living on Earth (radio) Environment Report (radio) Environmental Capital (WSJ) Energy Outlook The Oil Drum Planet DFW (Dallas/Ft. Worth) PDX Green (Portland, Ore.) Earth and Environmental Science and Engineering

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Private Sector Develoment Blog Media and Environment

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12/5/12 10:53 AM The Intersection SciencePoliticsClimate Blog Set America Free FREE-MARKET ADVOCATES, “SKEPTICS,” INDUSTRY VIEWS

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Students are demanding that university endowment funds rid themselves of coal, oil and gas stocks in hopes of bringing climate change onto the national political agenda. Asian Cities’ Air Quality Getting Worse, Experts Warn By BETTINA WASSENER

Pollution levels in 70 percent of the cities examined were found to exceed even the most lenient of several targets recommended by the World Health Organization.

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Penn Museum Pushes for Broader Public Appeal By JON HURDLE

To mark its 125th anniversary, the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology is undertaking an ambitious effort to become more accessible to the public. Archive Select Month


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